Posted On June 8, 2020
The Rajasthan police has filed an FIR against three people working for a private hospital in Rajasthan’s Chiru district a day after its staff was accused of sharing anti-Muslim messages on a WhatsApp group.
Screenshots of the WhatsApp group that went viral on Sunday showed discrimination against Muslim patients regarding COVID-19 treatment. While the hospital owner issued an apology, a probe has been initiated.
The hospital Shrichand Baradiya Rog Nidan Kendra is in Sardarshahar town of Churu. Controversy arose when screenshots of the chats on a group for staff members by the name of ‘Bardia Rise’ went viral on June 5. As per the chat, the hospital staff would not attend to Muslim patients. Two days later on June 7, a complaint was sent to the police control room at Sardarshahar by Maqbool Khan, district president of Muslim Parishad Sanstan.
It is also alleged that one of the participants of the chats is Dr Bhagwati Choudhary, wife of hospital owner Dr Sunil Choudhary. The chats say that the staff would not perform X-ray of Muslim patients. It also says that Muslims coming to OPD will not be provided treatment.
The police have registered an FIR against three persons namely Dr Bhagwati Baradiya (Choudhary), Lalit Singh and Ankita under section 153 A, 505 of IPC and Section 54 of Disaster Management Act 2005. The charges include vilification on basis of religion and intention to incite persons to commit crime against other community under IPC along with charges of making and circulating false alarm or warning about a disaster leading to panic.
Even before the FIR was lodged Dr Sunil Choudhary (with the profile Sunil Khakhal) issued an apology on Facebook which reads, “I apologise for the chat of my hospital staff that is going viral on social media. My staff and I have never had intentions to harm the religious sentiments of any religious community. We have no intention of denying treatment to any community. If you have felt hurt by what happened, my staff and I apologise to you. We wish to emphasise that the hospital will not give you any cause of complaint.”
Sardarshahar had recorded its first COVID19 cases when members of the Tablighi Jamaat who attended the Nizamuddin event had tested positive. The chat is reportedly from April 8.
The police is investigating all aspects of the issue. “We had received a complaint with screenshots of a chat on a WhatsApp group. The complaint says that chat messages are communal and discriminatory in nature. We are investigating the matter,” said SI Ramesh Pannu of Sardarshahar police station. “The police is trying to ascertain the authenticity of the chats and identity of persons who made the screenshots viral. An FIR has been registered,” added Pannu.